When compared to other iterations of the Dark Knight outside of the comics, the Arkham games have always maintained a surprisingly darker edge than even some of the more contemporary Batman movies. From the hallucinatory terror provided by the Scarecrow in Arkham Asylum, to the Penguin’s twisted torturing of police officers in Arkham City, down to the Joker’s gleeful murdering in Arkham Origins, chances are that most people have figured out that the Batman of the “Arkhamverse” is the Dark Knight at his darkest. Now, though, it seems as though he’s about to go even darker.
According to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), Rocksteady Studios’ upcoming video game Batman: Arkham Knight has been rated “M for Mature” for, “blood, language, suggestive themes, and violence.” This is pretty surprising news, as this will be the first officially released Batman narrative product from Warner Bros. and DC Comics to receive a rating classification that reserves it for ages 17 and up based on content, just like an R-rating from the MPAA. That inherently means that, unless a minor has parental permission, no one under the age of 17 will be able to purchase Arkham Knight when it hits stores later this year. The rating itself isn’t as shocking as the idea that Warner Bros. is permitting the game to be released with the rating, since in the past they’ve been skiddish about a Batman product being labeled for “adults only.”
Game director Sefton Hill spoke to IGN about the rating classification, and said that removing some “concerning” scenes for Warner Bros. would’ve meant releasing an inferior product. He said,
I’m not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out… I don’t want to be oblivious to that fact. It would have been wrong to water down the game and deliver a story we didn’t believe in to keep the game “mass market” or enable it for more people. We feel that’s the wrong way to go about it. We said we love the story and we don’t want to jeopardize that.
He also said that the game’s overall tone will feel familiar to players of the previous Arkham games, and that there’s no excessive blood or language present when compared to Arkham City. One thing worth noting is that the Scarecrow is the primary villain in Arkham Knight, and given the breakout and disturbing moments we got from him in the first game, it doesn’t take too much imagination to guess where the “M-rated” scenes are coming from.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on June 2nd. For more on the game as it develops, keep an eye on GeekNation!
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